The Big Takeaway --
On a show dominated by Stephanie McMahon, the Undertaker returned to announce he was going to compete in the Royal Rumble. His mentioned that he was in New Orleans, the site of where the Streak died. Chris Jericho won the U.S. Championship by pinning Roman Reigns in a handicap match. It's his first U.S. Championship reign. Shawn Michaels also returned to promote his first film role in "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone," which led to a segment with Rusev, Jinder Mahal, Enzo & Big Cass. Stephanie gave Mick Foley a job review and seemed to tease firing him if the Undertaker showed up. But the results of the job review were never revealed.
Show Recap --
Stephanie McMahon was backstage with Mick Foley. She was going to give him a performance review, but she was concerned about whether the Undertaker would show up. She said the last time she saw the Undertaker, he was on SmackDown. Foley didn't give a concrete answer as to whether Undertaker would be there, just saying that he thought he would show up. Seth Rollins walked in and told Stephanie he was going to enter the Royal Rumble. Braun Strowman barged in upset about Goldberg and Roman Reigns spearing him last week. He said he wanted either Goldberg or Reigns. Rollins got in his face and they have wound up in a pull apart brawl with referees coming in and plants flying. Stephanie growled that the Undertaker better be here tonight and ordered Foley to get things under control.
Reigns'' handicap match with Owens and Jericho was supposed to lead off the show, but Strowman walked out before it could start. Owens and Jericho joined Strowman in a 3-on-1 beatdown. Rollins ran out with a chair for the save and gave Strowman a Van Daminator. Reigns brought in a chair of his own and gave Jericho and Owens chair shots to their backs. Reigns and Rollins gave Strowman a double chair shot to the back. Stephanie walked out and said the handicap match with Reigns vs. Owens & Jericho would take place later tonight. She ordered Rollins to face Strowman immediately.
Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman fought to a double countout (11:36)
Michael Cole said Sami Zayn had suffered several injuries from his last man standing match with Strowman and will miss tonight's show. Strowman had the upper hand for two-thirds of the match and had some heel heat. Rollins made his comeback with a springboard knee. He attempted a blockbuster, but Strowman caught him in mid-air and placed him on the top rope. Rollins kicked him off the top rope and hit a frog splash for a two count. Strowman rolled out of the ring and leaned against the barricade. Rollins attempted a plancha, but Strowman moved and Rollins crashed into the boards. The referee counted them both out as Strowman dragged Rollins back to the ring.
Strowman threw Rollins back into the ring and grabbed a chair. But Rollins gave Strowman a baseball slide, where the chair hit Strowman's leg. Strowman walked off.
Bayley and Sasha Banks talked backstage. Banks didn't have her knee brace on after being on crutches last week. Banks said she was fine. Bayley said she has beaten Charlotte before and she knows she'll do it again at the Royal Rumble. Banks said she would have Bayley's back if Dana Brooke tried to interfere. Charlotte walked in and said Banks did a better acting job than Emma Stone telling Bayley that. Banks and Charlotte traded words over how they had defeated the other when Nia Jax attacked Banks from behind, kicking her bad knee. Charlotte hit Bayley with the belt. After Bayley and Banks had been laid out, Jax pushed Charlotte against a forklift and gave her a threatening look, then left.
Jack Gallagher defeated Drew Gulak (3:15)
On commentary, Austin Aries joked the victor of this match should use the winner's purse to buy kneepads. Drew Gulak slammed Jack Gallagher against the ropes. Gulak went for a roaring elbow, but Gallagher laid in a stiff head butt and pinned him with a running dropkick.
Charly Caruso did an interview with Gallagher, where he offered an olive branch with Ariya Daivari. But instead of giving him a thrashing, he would offer a gentleman's parlay. When Caruso asked what that was, he said it was a way for two gentlemen to settle their differences in a mutual way without violence.
Foley was looking for the Undertaker. Stephanie wanted to know where he was. Foley vowed he would be here, but Stephanie said Foley's entire performance review hinges on if the Undertaker will show up. She gave him one hour.
Michaels came out. He said he's missed the fans and coming out on Raw during this time of year. In January, things begin to pick up a little bit with the Royal Rumble around the corner. He said he had fond memories of the Royal Rumble and this year it was in his hometown of San Antonio. He brought up the 1997 Rumble, winning the world championship. He paused to politely quiet a fan who chanted something he didn't like, saying he wasn't going to throw a fastball that he hasn't hit out of the ballpark. Fans chanted for one more match, but Michaels said they can't pressure him.
He changed the subject to the "Resurrection of Gavin Stone," his first film coming out on January 20. Rusev, Jinder Mahal and Lana came out. Rusev said if Michaels wanted the film to be successful, he needs to put Lana in it. Michaels said they have already finished production of it. Rusev suggested that he use CGI like they used in Star Wars. Michaels joked about Rusev being a Wookie. Fans chanted for "Sweet Chin Music." Rusev said his wife was much more hot than Emma Stone and she should have won the Golden Globe last night. Michaels tried to make an off-script joke equating Golden Globes and Lana's breasts that fell so flat, Rusev rejected it and got a bigger response. Rusev said everyone had forgotten about Michaels' career.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass came out with Enzo in a wheelchair, but he limped into the ring. Enzo said the realest guy in the room right now was Michaels, and they played off calling Rusev and Mahal a couple of haters. Enzo said Lana was a great actress because every day she has to wake up next to Rusev and act like she wasn't repulsed.
Enzo asked Cass what movie would he put the three of them in? Cass suggested "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" "Puss in Boots" "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Blow' and "The Pianist." Michaels and Enzo acted like Cass had said penis instead of "Pianist." Michaels suggested "Dumb and Dumber." Rusev should at them to stop and threatened to put Cass and Michaels in a wheelchair with Enzo. Cass challenged Rusev to another match. Rusev said if Cass wanted a match, he would get one---against Mahal. Michaels said he would stay at ringside and led the crowd in the "Suck It" chant.
Big Cass defeated Jinder Mahal (3:09)
Rusev interfered holding Cass trunks, which led to Michaels giving Rusev Sweet Chin Music. Emblematic of the previous segment, Cass dropped Mahal trying to deliver the East River Crossing at the finish and simply pinned him with the Empire Elbow.
They ran the same promo for the Makeover of Emmalina they've been running for the past month.
Neville defeated Lince Dorado via submission (2:58)
Neville is doing the same heel tactics that Christopher Daniels used in 2002 Ring of Honor, refusing to shake hands with opponents, breaking the code of the cruiserweights. He also has a new heel ring entrance sans pyro. Neville got the submission with the Rings of Saturn, which Aries called on commentary.
Post-match, Aries railroaded Dorado from behind and put him in the Rings of Saturn again until Rich Swann came out for the save. The two had a slugfest in the middle of the ring until Swann scored two high kicks and Neville went packing.
They showed highlights of Edge winning the 2010 Royal Rumble, just six months after suffering a torn ACL during a house show match against Jeff Hardy. Edge was shown on sound bites saying he marked the calendar to return at the Rumble just days after he suffered the injury.
A stagehand was trying to replace the plant that was thrown around earlier when Stephanie ordered him to leave. Banks and Bayley waked in and wanted to face Charlotte and Jax next week. Stephanie talked down to Banks saying Banks' shirt may say "Legit boss," but she was the only boss around here. Banks and Stephanie had a staredown. Stephanie ordered them to face Charlotte and Jax tonight and told them to get the hell out of her office.
Sheamus defeated Luke Gallows (10:17)
Cesaro and Karl Anderson were on commentary. Anderson kept bringing up his success in Japan, which Cesaro made fun of with lines that sounded pretty scripted. Anderson threw a water bottle at Cesaro McGregor-style and punched him on the ramp. Sheamus was distracted, and Luke Gallows hit a Fireman's Carry Flapjack for a false finish. Then Cesaro made a comeback on the ramp, which distracted Gallows. Sheamus pinned him with the Brogue kick.
Reigns did an interview with Caruso saying it was his duty to defend the U.S. Championship, even if he wasn't 100% and fighting against two men.
Foley was in the ring saying his matches against the Undertaker left him with scars that will stay with him for a lifetime. He called for him to come out, but didn't. Foley, appearing on the verge of tears, acted like he was going to lose his job because the Undertaker didn't show up. The lights went out, but Stephanie came out instead and apologized for the Undertaker not showing up.
She gave Foley his performance review saying with every step forward, he takes two steps back. She blamed him for Zayn getting injured and losing in the ratings to SmackDown a couple weeks ago. Foley started to apologize when the Undertaker's music went off. He came out to a much bigger reaction than anyone on the show thus far. He did an entrance that seemed stalled out enough to wait until the Alabama-Clemson football game could reach halftime, because it was in the waning seconds when they finally got to the meat of this segment.
Undertaker said "I'm back. And I think it's important that the world should know that I will be entering the Royal Rumble. I answer to no one. I go where I want, when I want. Nobody controls the Undertaker." Then he got in Stephanie's face and said "No one." He said "Now I have returned to the city where I suffered my most devastating loss and where the streak came to its demise. But my journey continues to the Royal Rumble. I've dug 29 holes for 29 souls and I will be bringing the dark side to the Royal Rumble match. And after I win, I will return to the main event of WrestleMania and if anyone, and I mean anyone, stands in my way, they will rest in peace." He left without Stephanie concluding Foley's job review.
Caruso talked with Owens and Jericho. Owens ran down people who show up every so often, like the Undertaker and Goldberg. It made Owens angry when Goldberg destroyed the first Kevin Owens Show last week, and tonight they'll beat Reigns. Jericho said with the condition that the United States is in, maybe it's time for two Canadians to become the face of the U.S. Jericho called her "Chaz."
Charlotte & Nia Jax defeated Sasha Banks & Bayley (8:49)
Bayley tried to pin Charlotte with a O'Conner Roll, but Charlotte tagged in Jax. Immediately, Jax gave Bayley and running body block, knocked a hampered Banks off the apron and pinned Bayley clean with a legdrop.
This was the sixth consecutive edition of Raw where Reigns has faced either Owens or Jericho.
Noam Dar gazed at himself in the mirror when Alicia Fox walked up. Dar hit on her again and leaned his cheek out and asked if she was ready to kiss him. Fox leaned out, then took him into her arms and ravaged him with a long kiss. Dar looked totally dazed and Fox said "Cedric was right. You can't handle a real woman."
The New Day came out. Titus O'Neal followed. Big E. asked "tight drawers" why he clocked Xavier Woods last week. O'Neal apologized and asked to join the New Day again. Woods said last week when he said his DMs were open on Twitter, he didn't mean for O'Neal. Kofi Kingston said they found footage when O'Neal looked more like a bull in a china shop.
Then showed footage of him in 2010 running obstacles on NXT trying to carry a keg of beer, but crashing face first on the floor. New Day all laughed. Big E said it looked like a Life Alert commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up." Big E said O'Neal needs to worry about redemption. Kingston unveiled a new beer keg with New Day colors. It was a keg filled with the greatest sports juice of all time "Booty Juice." The tag line was "Booty Juice, it Makes Sure Your Throat is Loose."
They challenged O'Neal to carry it around the ring in 16 seconds. O'Neal carried it around the ring but dropped the keg before he crossed the finish line, just like several college football players have done in real life recently. They even showed a replay, which got O'Neal mad. He shoved Kingston. It led to Kingston challenging O'Neal to a match.
Kofi Kingston defeated Titus O'Neil (3:33)
They teased the finish of last week's match between Woods and O'Neil. O'Neil threw Kingston to the floor, but Big E. and Woods caught him. O'Neil chased Kingston in the ring, where Kingston gave him the Trouble in Paradise for the pin.
They officially announced WrestleMania is coming to New Orleans again in 2018.
Brock Lesnar returns to Raw next week.
This was the sixth consecutive Raw where Reigns has wrestled either Jericho or Owens in some form. Before the match, Reigns jumped Jericho and Owens on the floor. The shark cage that Jericho will be locked in at the Royal Rumble was on the stage, and Reigns tried to lock Jericho inside it. But Owens attacked Reigns from behind and got Reigns free. Jericho and Owens threw Reigns into the cage, which crashed to the floor. Owens sent Reigns into the ring steps. Reigns sold his left arm as the opening bell sounded following several minutes of brawling.
Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns in a handicap match to win the U.S. Championship. Jericho was awarded the championship after scoring the fall. (8:15)
Jericho got busted up hardway somehow, but they didn't stop the match. Reigns gave Jericho a spear, but Owens pulled him out of the ring. Reigns gave Owens the Drive-By outside the ring. Jericho went for a springboard dropkick, but he jumped right into a Superman Punch. Owens held Reigns leg outside the ring, and Jericho gave him a Codebreaker. Then Owens power bombed Reigns onto the edge of the ring apron. They slowly rolled Reigns back into the ring. Owens threw Reigns into a Jericho Codebreaker, leading to the clean pin. This was the only heavyweight championship in WWE that Jericho has never held, until tonight.